While food tracking is an effective method for those trying to lose weight, I'm about to talk about 10 reasons to track your food intake that have nothing to do with losing weight.
I have about 10 volumes of what I call my fitness and nutrition journals. I started writing down my food and my workouts in 2012. I started doing it because I was interested in keeping track of these new workouts I was doing. At this time I was also studying nutrition and even though I was only 18 years old I was grocery shopping and to do that I had to menu plan.
So I got into the habit of writing down what I eat for my meals and I still keep up with it. That's the thing about habits is that they are so automatic they become effortless! Food tracking is effortless for me and I don't do it to lose weight.
Here are the 10 reasons!
1. Keep tabs on my hunger levels throughout the day. By writing down what I eat for breakfast, and the other meals and snacks I eat in the day I can gauge what my true hunger levels are. I can answer the question: Am I truly hungry or am I just bored.
2. Learn what foods keep me full. When I write down what I eat I can see what meals were super satisfying. I want to repeat those meals! Especially if I learn an easy filling meal and I want to feel nourished for a back to back workout class.
3. To discover what foods make me gassy. Honestly, there are some foods that I eat that make me way gassier than others. Cheers to being a human :)! I'm not outright avoiding these foods for the rest of my life especially because I love some of them, hello roasted burssel sprouts. But I may choose to not eat them before a yoga class.
4. Save my spot at the gym. I honestly will leave my little notebook in a space to mark my territory. For example, I'm doing a superset with lat pull downs and then bicep curls in a different area. I leave my notebook (where I write my workouts) down and the notebook indicates other gym goers I'm still using that equipment.
5. General awareness of how I am eating. So I do like to see the big picture of my overall eating pattern. After all, it is our overall eating pattern that really indicates our risk for disease, promotes health etc.
6. Find the perfect pre workout meal. Since I write down what I eat I can find patterns between great workouts and what I ate that day. This was a game changer for me at one point. My workouts on an empty stomach in the morning are sh*t compared to when I eat before. I figured that out because I saw the trend...
7. ...Find what foods do NOT jive with my workouts. Yeah so writing down what I eat helps me find out what foods do NOT work well with my workouts either. Overnight oats I can do before a workout, which Amy be surprising. But eating an ounce of peanuts? Ooooh, nope! Cramp city! This is individual to me, though. You can write down hat you eat and find your individual preferences :).
8. Have more focus at the gym. How does writing down what I eat help me focus in the gym? Well it's not the food tracking but it is the writing down of my workouts that help me focus. Since I write my food intake and my workouts in the same journal, well this makes the list. Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand after all!
9. Record PRs! Another fitness specific reason to track food and fitness in a journal is that I can see what lifts I hit a PR and maybe how I was eating that week. I hit a PR and noticed when I eat more carbohydrates I lift heavier (no surprise there!) .
10. Writing down what I eat also helps me to see when it is NOT food or nutrition related to my workouts. Let's say I had a sh*tty workout. But my food intake is the same, caffeine is the same... well then I know it wasn't my nutrition! So writing down what I eat helps me get out of the mentality that food is the cause. It helps me investigate other lifestyle habits. Sleep, stress, my periods, etc.
So those are 10 non-weight loss related reasons to track food intake. There is no shame in recording what you eat especially if this is a helpful practice to include more Mindful Eating in your day.
If you benefit from writing in a journal, this is also a great method to take pause. Writing itself is my form of meditation. I like the way it feels to glide a pen across a piece of paper. Its therapeutic and so while I'm writing down what I eat I'm also taking moment to pause from the screen and do some self reflection.
Do you write down your meals? Have you voided it for any reason? Share in the comments! Or email me :)!